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For teeth that are badly damaged, dental crowns can be an effective treatment option. The dental crown procedure utilizes tooth-shaped coverings made of metal, ceramic, or porcelain to restore strength and eliminate discomfort. In addition, dental crowns may be used to anchor a dental bridge or to cap a dental implant post.
Q. Why might I need crowns ?
If your tooth has undergone significant decay and there is not enough tooth structure remaining to support a filling or an inlay and maintain functionaility.
If a large portion of your tooth has fractured and it cannot be built up using traditional composite bonding techniques .
If you have a large cavity and opt for the additional protection a crown offers to your tooth over a large composite filling or an inlay.
If you have had a dental implant to replace a missing tooth, a crown will be fitted to the abutment of the titanium implant.
Following root canal treatment, a crown is often needed to strengthen the tooth.
If you grind your teeth and have a poor diet, acid errosion may reduce your teeth to a point where the only option available is to crown them.
For cosmetic reasons, to improve the aesthetics of your smile, you may opt for all porcelain cosmetic crowns.
Types of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are made of metal, ceramic, or porcelain fused to metal. The type of crown utilized during your dental crown procedure will depend on your unique needs and goals, as well as the recommendation of your dentist.
- Metal Crowns : - Although their metallic color makes them a poor choice for highly visible teeth, dental crowns made of metal can be an ideal option for repairing decayed or damaged back teeth. They are extremely durable and can be applied with less removal of the natural tooth than all porcelain or ceramic crowns. Metal crowns may consist of various materials, including gold alloy, palladium, nickel alloy, or chromium alloy.
- Gold Crowns : - Gold crowns have several advantages over all other dental crown types. First, gold crowns add strength to your tooth with the least amount of tooth structure lost. Gold crowns can be made thin and yet very strong. These crowns wear much like your natural tooth structure so they harmonize with the rest of your teeth over years of wear. Gold crowns do not wear down the opposing tooth and will never break. Gold crowns are the longest lasting crowns and best for the molars in the far back of your mouth because these provide most of the chewing power.
- All Ceramic Crowns : - All ceramic crowns may be made of porcelain, resins, or dental ceramic materials. They create an extremely natural-looking appearance and are typically used on front teeth. The tooth-colored ceramic material is translucent, like the enamel of your natural teeth, and size and shade can be carefully matched to complement the rest of your smile. However, ceramic dental crowns are not as resilient as metal crowns and do not function as well on back teeth, which sustain a lot of pressure from biting and chewing.
- Porcelain Crowns : - Dental crowns made of porcelain fused to metal are stronger than all-ceramic versions and more aesthetically pleasing than those made of metal. However, their metal shell gives porcelain fused to metal crowns an opaque appearance. Because they lack the reflective quality of natural teeth, porcelain fused to metal crowns are not as discreet as all ceramic crowns. Additionally, over time, a thin metal band may be visible along the gum line with this type of crown.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Typically, the dental crown procedure is completed in two stages. During the first stage, the dentist removes portions of your natural tooth’s structure to accommodate the dental crown. Surrounding teeth may also be prepared in this way. An impression is made and sent to the lab, where your dental crown is created in about two weeks. A temporary crown will be in place between visits to ensure the most natural look and feel. When you return to the dentist’s office, the temporary crown is removed and your new, custom dental crown is securely bonded in place.
For some patients, the dental crown procedure is altered to meet specific goals. For example, if crowns are being utilized to anchor a dental bridge or as a dental implant restoration, the steps in the dental crown procedure will be slightly different. Also, teeth with extensive damage may require that a root canal be performed prior to placing the crown. Additionally, new technology has made it possible to complete some dental crown procedures in a single office visit. A consultation with your dentist can help you better understand the unique steps in your dental crown procedure.
Replacing Old Dental Crowns
Individuals may be interested in replacing old dental crowns for a number of reasons. Concerns about the appearance of metal crowns on prominent teeth may compel some patients to have their dental work restored with all ceramic or porcelain crowns. Other times, dental crown problems like wear, decay, or poor fit may lead patients to inquire about replacing older dental crowns. Typically, patients should expect to replace their dental crowns after approximately 10 to 15 years.
Q. How long do crowns last ?
This will depend largely on how well you look after your teeth. Dental crowns require the same level of care and attention as your natural teeth. Provided you have a good oral hygiene program, attend regular checkups at your dentist, don't grind your teeth, maintain a tooth-kind diet and don't do things like open beer bottles with your teeth, a high-quality dental crown can last 10-15 years
Recovery : -
One of the major benefits of cosmetic dentistry is the lack of recovery time. Aside from the initial local anesthetic while the tooth is being shaped and the mold taken, there should be no pain or down time. You should be able to chew, speak and smile normally.
Risk : - The main risk with a crown is the increased sensitivity to heat and cold where the shaped tooth meets the crown’s edge at the gum line. Often, a crown may seem out of place in a patient’s mouth as well, however, this can be corrected by simple buffing down of the crown to better accommodate your bite. Otherwise, there are few risks involved with cosmetic dentistry involving crowns or caps.
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